This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The movement for the states to take control of federal lands has strong support along the Utah-Arizona line. So does polygamy.
LaVoy Finicum, the lone fatality in the conflict at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, lived along that line. While Finicum did not belong to a polygamous sect, some who knew him do.
One supporter of Fincum and rancher Cliven and Ammon Bundy, it seems, is Ross Wesley LeBaron Jr. His father held the title of patriarch in the polygamous Church of the Firstborn of the Fulness of Times. After a split within the church, one of the younger LeBaron's uncles, Ervil LeBaron led the Church of the Lamb of God.
Law enforcement believes that in the 1970s and 1980s Ervil LeBaron and his followers murdered more than 25 people in Utah, Texas and other states whom Evril LeBaron viewed as rivals or heretics.
Ross LeBaron Jr. has not been implicated in those murders. LeBaron has had addresses over the years in Cedar City, Utah, and Kane Beds, Ariz.
Salt Lake Tribune reporter Matt Piper ran into him in Kanab, Utah, the day after Finicum's funeral.
LeBaron, 73, offered Piper a sheet of paper explaining his views. The page was dated Feb. 5, 2015, but the references to Finicum suggest it was written this year.
"To love your neighbor as yourself is to stand for his rights and not undermined (sic) them by supporting corrupt government," the writing says, in part. "Anyone that undermines the Constitution and people's rights a not true Christians, true Israelites or good people."
Later, in bold type, LeBaron writes: "Lavoy, the Bundy's (sic) and others are my heroes. They stood for something bigger then (sic) themselves. They are not sellouts like many are today. I thank God for all those that are standing for the greater good."
There's no indication LeBaron holds any formal posts with any of the political or militia groups supporting the Bundy family.
During the weekend, the Principle Tumblr posted a photo of a sign taped to a business door in Cane Beds saying it would be closed for the funeral of Finicum and another funeral that day one for Warren Jeffs' first father-in-law, a man named Isaac W. Barlow. Jeffs is the imprisoned leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.